Gun, drug, auto theft sting nets 75 arrests


San Francisco and San Mateo County law enforcement worked with state and federal agencies to arrest dozens of people in a sweeping sting operation targeting auto theft, auto burglaries, drugs and illegal firearms, officials said Thursday at news conference in San Francisco.

“Operation Cold Day,” as it was dubbed by law enforcement, resulted in more than 75 people being arrested and charged, 42 of them in federal court on charges including possession of illegal firearms, unlicensed firearm dealing, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, being a felon in possession of a firearm and participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine base.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, which took part in the operation along with the Daly City and Redwood City police departments, has filed another 45 cases involving 48 individuals and plans to prosecute them “aggressively,” according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Those cases involve charges including possession of stolen property, possession of stolen cars and possession of automatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

In addition, the operation seized more than 90 firearms and more than 100 ounces of narcotics and recovered more than 48 stolen vehicles and issued 115 warrants. While primarily focused in San Francisco and northern San Mateo County, the operation extended as far as the East Bay and Central Valley.

U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch said:

“The focus of this operation has been to bring federal resources to bear on state and local problems to combat street level criminals who often evade prosecution. … We were able to intercept supply chains of firearms and illegal narcotics at multiple levels simultaneously. We made our neighborhoods more safe.”

The more than two-year-long operation, which deployed undercover U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents, began as a collaboration between the California Highway Patrol and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office focused on a series of vehicle thefts, officials said.

However it quickly grew beyond that to include San Mateo County as well as federal agencies.

Officials said the operation took dangerous guns and drugs off the street, returned stolen cars to their rightful owners and, while it did not target violent crimes, possibly helped prevented violent crimes from occurring.

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